Betty White: Lifelong Advocate for Wildlife

Betty White, right, and our Global Ambassador Joan Embery share a laugh with a crested porcupine.

Betty White, right, and our Global Ambassador Joan Embery pose with a crested porcupine.

With her signature 1,000-watt smile and a twinkle in her eyes, Betty White is one of today’s most recognizable and beloved TV personalities. What many of us don’t know is how extensive her career has been over seven decades, including roles as an actress, comedian, singer, and author, as well as early roles in radio in the 1940s. From game shows to talk shows to incredible success starring in comedies like “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” “The Golden Girls,” and the current hit, “Hot in Cleveland,” her roles always revealed her diverse acting talent.

When most actors are winding down their careers, Betty White has accelerated hers over the past decade. Whether she is playing a dramatic role or hosting “Saturday Night Live” and bringing the house down, Betty is always the consummate professional. Along the way, she has won more than two dozen awards, including Emmys and Grammys, and has been nominated for dozens more. We agree with a 2011 Reuters and Ipsos poll that revealed her to be the most popular and trusted celebrity among Americans!

Betty had fun meeting some exotic friends.

Betty had fun meeting exotic friends like this fennec fox.

Betty White is also a great advocate for wildlife, including animal health, welfare, and conservation, as well as a pet enthusiast. She works with the Los Angeles Zoo Commission, the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association, the Morris Animal Foundation, and Actors & Others for Animals. When the USDA Forest Service, along with Smokey the Bear, made her an honorary forest ranger in 2010, Betty said it fulfilled her lifelong dream: she always wanted to be a forest ranger as a little girl, but women weren’t allowed to enter that profession in the 1920s. Her love of animals remained strong, however, fostered early in life by her parents. For the past 40 years Betty has worked tirelessly on behalf of animal welfare while also becoming known as a conservation champion.

For Betty White’s many efforts as a passionate advocate for wildlife everywhere, San Diego Zoo Global is truly honored to name her its 2013 Conservation Advocate.

Mary Sekulovich is an editor for San Diego Zoo Global.

10 Responses to Betty White: Lifelong Advocate for Wildlife

  1. Do I remember correctly that Betty White had Samoyed dogs in the 1980s? I’ve had Samoyeds all my life, and I cannot imagine a finer breed to share your life with–and I’m sure that why she chose them as well. Congratulations to her, and to San Diego, for the wonderful accomplishments at the Zoo this year. Rena Mueller

  2. Betty White does a great job with animal conservation and with animals who are pets. She is to be commended.

  3. Congratulations,Betty!

  4. Betty, you are one amazing lady! And thank you for all you have done, are currently doing and will do for animals! We love you for it!

  5. Betty White is one amazing lady and has contributed so much to our loving animals. There needs to be more people in the world like Betty.

    God Bless You Betty and keep up the good work!

  6. Betty, there is no one more deserving of this award than you. Thank you for all of your good work in the cause of biodiversity on our planet.

  7. Hi! What a darling picture of Sheila and Betty. However, isn’t Sheila a regular kangaroo and not a red kangaroo??

  8. Congratulations Betty.
    A fellow animal lover.

  9. I have loved Betty White for over 40 years! She is a__excuse me, I had to stop and laugh at some memories of things she has said__fantastic comedienne, and I learned about her work with animals about 40 years ago too, maing me love her even more!

  10. Betty White had giving me a puppy when I was about 4 or 5 years old on the al jarvis program.